I am going to post some information when I have the time about volcanoes that you never hear about in the news. The volcanoes in Iceland that have finished there work and have now gone extinct and no longer make ash clouds or lava. Iceland is full of those volcanoes and they are part of Iceland. What they do is tell us the history of Icelandic volcanism and how the volcanoes them self evolved over time and what they did do in that time.
I don’t have any good pictures or maps of extinct volcanoes in Iceland at the moment. But lucky for me I currently live on top of one at the moment. Both where I am in school and at home. Here is a view to the top of the volcano at my home. Picture is taken in summer 2008.
For me this history is important, as we can learn from it about today volcanoes and how they might behave when erupting.
One of Vatnajökull volcanoes named Kverkfjöll is starting to show again signs of activity. But few years (Week 31 2005, Week 35 2005, more data here) ago Kverkfjöll broke few decades of silence with a swarm of earthquakes. But most of them where small earthquakes and not many of them did reach ML3.0 in size.
In last week (Week 39 2010) there where few earthquakes in Kverkfjöll. But those where just few earthquakes, not a real swarm of earthquakes. Over the years there have been earthquakes (Week 7, 2003) in Kverkfjöll so this might not be so uncommon happening. But for the most part, Kverkfjöll normally don’t show much activity besides hot springs and boiled soil.
Last eruption in Kverkfjöll did happen in the year 1968 and in the year 1959 according to Global Volcanism Program.
I do not believe that Kverkfjöll are going to erupt soon. But things might get interesting in Kverkfjöll in 5 to 10 years from now. But it might take longer or shorter, the wait for Kverkfjöll however has started.
Over the past two days the GPS station on Grímsfjall has been reporting some interesting data on what is going on inside Grímsfjall. But it appears that Grímsfjall is inflating at really fast speed at the moment. The movement is mostly upwards, as the station is located on the top of the mountain.
Currently the GPS station at Grímsfjall is reporting about 85mm movement upwards and about 5mm movement north (moving south). At last the movement east is about 10mm. But that gives the expansion site close to the GPS station, I would estimate rather rudely about 5 to 10 km from the SIL and GPS location. But it might be closer or longer. This is just a badly educated guess that I am doing here.
It is clear that if Grímsfjall continues to inflate at the same rate and it has been doing for the past few days and weeks it is going to erupt real soon. When is a good question as always.
Over the past days there have been a quiet streak happening in Iceland geology. This regularly happens and doesn’t mean anything special. This quiet times can sometimes last for up to 10 to 20 days at the longest. The longest quiet time that I did see lasted something close to five weeks. But then activity started to pick up again slowly.
It also happens sometime that quiet period is end with a bang. Then with a ML/Mb 4.0 or 5.0 earthquake and following earthquake swarm. Even if quiet time happens in Iceland sometimes, it does not necessary mean that the year is going to be a quiet one. As we have already seen with Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 2010.
Earlier tonight a second harmonic pulse was seen on Grímsvötn SIL station. This time the harmonic pulse has lasted longer and is still ongoing when this is written. What is creating this harmonic pulse is unclear at this moment. But at current time Grímsvötn lake is full of water. It might well be that the water is on the move and is leaving the Grímsvötn lake. However it is not going to be clear if that is the case or not in the next few hours. I would not be surprised if it goes both ways. That is the water is on the move and that it might not be on the move at all.
The second harmonic tremor seen on SIL station run by the IMO. Picture credit, Icelandic Met Office.
Grímsvötn SIL station. Click here for the full list of SIL station run by Icelandic Met Office.
Today around 13:00 or 14:00 UTC (not sure exactly when) there was a possible minor harmonic tremor at Grímsfjall volcano. But earlier today I did write about the fast rise that is happening at Grímsfjall according to GPS data. It seems that things might get interesting soon if the current trend continues as it has for the past few weeks.
I do not believe that this is weather interference that I am currently seeing.
Possible harmonic tremor pulse seen at Grímsvötn SIL station on 2.October 2010. Image from IMO web site
According to GPS data from IMO (automatic data). It appears that Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall are rising fast. But current inflation according to the GPS data is now 80mm. But was around 70mm few days ago. Given this GPS data it is clear that Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall might erupt sooner then estimated by the geological scientists in Iceland. But they where expecting a eruption in Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall later this winter at earliest.
It currently is impossible to know when Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall is going to erupt. But given the GPS data at current time it is going to happen sooner rather then later. It is clear that Grímsvötn / Grímsfjall is worth keeping watch on, as a eruption can happen with little or no warning at all.
The news tonight at Stöð 2 (Channel 2) in Iceland reports that there is a new ash trail visible from the top crater in Eyjafjallajökull. It can be seen because of the new snow layer on top of Eyjafjallajökull that did fall few days ago.
Geologists find this interesting. But they are unclear on why this happens. But they doubt this is due to explosions happening in the crater. The ash is either carried by steam or by wind over the crater rim and falls into the new snow on top of Eyjafjallajökull.
The news can be viewed here (in Icelandic, Windows Media Player required to view this video).
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